A year has passed since my summer holiday in Germany last year – beautiful and peaceful days in vineyards.
Dusseldorf Airport – Cologne (Cologne Cathedral) – Ahrweiler (8 days; one day trip to Rühdesheim am Rhein) – Frankfurt Airport
I stayed in one of Germany’s least-known and northernmost wine regions, Ahr where, unlike other regions, red wines are primarily produced (about 85% of the total wine production), and enjoyed three wine festivals during the stay. If you wonder why not beer festivals or why red wine rather than white wine, you might want to read my post, Holiday in Vineyards.
Cologne – Cologne Cathedral (14th August 2015)
On the way to Ahrweiler, stopped over at Cologne to see the cathedral. It was almost suicide for exhausted, jet-lagged, sleepy and hungry Rotwein to climb up the tower – 100 m high and with 533 steps – after 17 hour journey and just before lunch!
Heimersheim Weinfest (14th – 16th August 2015)
After checked in a holiday apartment and had a shower, headed to Heimersheim, adjacent to Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, the capital of Ahrweiler district, for the opening of the festival and the proclamation of the new wine queen.
The admission was 6 euros (valid for 3 days; 5 euros for Sunday only), and 3 euros for a wine cup (See the pic above – the admission wristband and the cup).
I had (only 😀 ) two cups at the wine stands that night, but many were enjoying a bottle (presumably, bottles) with their family or friends. There were also food stands available.
On the following day, went back there (of course with the cup 😀 ) for the historical vintners’ procession followed by the wine queen.
The most famous winery in Heimersheim is Weingut Nelles (VDP). Although I had no chance to visit their office/winery for wine tasting, tried two wines from the winery at the festival – Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) RUBER and Blanc de Noir – Trocken (dry), and loved the latter so much that I brought the bottle back home.
‘Blanc de Noir’, or Pinot Noir Blanc/White Pinot Noir, is made from Pinot Noir grapes in a white wine style, produced quickly removing the skins from the juice after the grapes have been pressed. ‘Blanc de Noir’ is often used for Champagne or sparkling wine. In Ahr, however, it refers to white still wine made from Spätburgunder grapes.
‘Blanc de Noir’ tastes richer than white, and the colour, as you can imagine, is pinkish but lighter than rosé. Nelles’s is slightly orangish or light salmon (See the pic with the cup above). They describe it ‘on the nose, vineyard peach, passion fruit and pineapple, in the mouth these aromas are supported by the elegant fruit acidity.’ It was perfect for summer drinking.
Nelles’s top product is B-52 Nelles Spätburgunder GG Heimersheimer Burggarten – I have to try this one day! Here is the review on WordPress:
B-52, Spätburgunder, Nelles, 2006
Info: Heimersheim Weinfest 2016 (19th – 21st August)
Rüdesheimer Weinfest (13th – 17th August 2015)
The day after the procession, I took a train down to Rüdesheim am Rhein for another weinfest. Rüdesheime is located in Rheingau, one of the most famous German wine regions for its high quality Riesling. In Rheingau, white grapes cover about 85 % of the vineyards, and as for the vine varieties, Riesling approx. 78% of the total wine production (2014 statistics).
Drosselgasse is a major draw for visitors. There are wide range of wine bars, garden taverns and traditional restaurants – a good place to sample local wines! Also a place to try famous ‘Rüdesheim Kaffee’, Asbach brandy and coffee with a topping of whipped cream. I wanted to try the coffee, but I couldn’t…. Well, the thing was I couldn’t take anymore alcohol after Rüdesheimer Weinfest!!
It was a rainy and chilly day (about 13°C）and not an ideal day for Riesling….
Rüdesheim am Rhein is not only the place for drinking! The cable car ride up to the Niederwald Monument offers you panoramic views over vineyards and the scenic views of the Rhine. I was going to take a Rhein River Cruise from Rüdesheim on the way back to Ahrweiler, but rain and fog discouraged me 😦
Well, that was fine as Hausgemachter Sauerbraten vom Rind ,,RHEINISCHE ART”, Kartoffelklößen und Apfelmus – Braised beef (marinated in vinegar), dumplings and applesauce at Ratsstube compensated it 🙂
Later at home, I learnt that one of the most popular travel bloggers was also in Rüdesheime for the festival. Her posts will give you more details about Rüdesheimer Weinfest and Riesling in Rheingau:
Info: Rüdesheimer Weinfest 2016 (18th – 22nd August)
Ländliches Weinfest Walporzheim (21st – 23rd August 2015)
Rural Walporzheim Wine Festival is held on the 4th Weekend in August with winegrowers’ parade on Sunday and fireworks on Monday. I was supposed to go home on Saturday, so I just saw the opening and the announcement of the new wine queen on Friday evening.
It was a bit smaller than Heimersheim one, but I liked the cozy and intimate atmosphere – perfect for the last night in Ahr. I had had enough red wines, especially Spätburgunder, for 8 days, so topped off the last night with white wine and rosé sparkling.
Info: Ländliches Weinfest Walporzheim 2016 (26th – 29th August)
Wine festivals and events in Ahr:
If you have no time to visit wineries in Ahr or no idea what to buy, visit Ahrweindept at Ahrweiler Markt. You can try some samples, and the shop owner will happily help you.